Last year I attended the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, CA. Golf courses are known for their beauty & pristine conditions but Torrey Pines is a standout on the PGA Tour. The backdrop is the blue Pacific Ocean & in the afternoons the surrounding sky is dotted with hang gliders. Have you ever watched Tiger Woods gaze as the hang gliders come within several hundred feet of the fairways & I can’t help but think that he would enjoy strapping himself into the harness & glide through the sky over the place that we get to call home.
But I digress because this blog is about something & someone else.
At the 2012 Open I was disappointed that so many top tier players had chosen to bypass the Farmers Open so they play in Abu Dhabi where large player appearance fees are paid. The PGA doesn’t allow appearance fees to be paid and I’m not sure paying a player just to show up is a good policy. Our method avoids the occasional player who might commit to a tournament just for appearance fees & then mail in his performance.
I sent an email to the PGA to voice my concerns over the cost of attending & not getting to see Tiger & Top 20 players in the field. They directed my email to Mr. Peter Ripa, who is the PGA Tour Tournament Director of the Farmers Open who in turn contacted me. We scheduled a call & talked for approx. 30 minutes; he understood & empathized & asked if it would be okay if he sent me passes to this year’s event. Of course I accepted his offer but was not anticipating passes for everyday of the tournament. Peter & his staff went way over my expectations.
Please understand that two key events came to pass as a result of my email.
1. The PGA didn’t just read my concerns & put my email in the trash file, they sent it to the right person to read.
2. Mr. Ripa, understands that one unhappy fan will tell at least 25 people who will then tell another 25 and so on and the tide begins to shift against all the hard work that goes into promoting an event of this magnitude. There is no stronger voice than word of mouth & I’ve always found it interesting that most people are eager to tell someone when they’re unhappy with something or someone but will very rarely tell others when they’re had a great experience.
I’m taking this opportunity to say that Peter Ripa & the rest of his staff and the people at the PGA offices are doing an incredible job. To them I simply say thank you. Thank you for listening to a disgruntled fan with an open mind. You now have a loyal fan that is committed to the Farmers Insurance Open, Torrey Pines Golf Course & the PGA brand(s)
Congratulations to Tiger, the PGA & Peter Ripa on a job well done! See you next year!